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Mountain High



The Mill Lake Irrigation District has asked the Bitterroot National Forest for permission to land a helicopter at a wilderness lake to help their dam maintenance project flow a bit easier. While the Wilderness Act typically bans this kind of disturbance, public comment is being solicited anyway. Prepare for comment by asking Betsy Ballard at the Stevensville Ranger District (777-5461) what’s up with that, and then submit your comments by April 20.

Timber and real estate giant Plum Creek is teaming up with the University of Montana to look at how greenhouse gas emissions here can be offset by trees planted elsewhere with “Kyoto, Forests, and Living Tree Markets: Science and Land Use Policy in Carbon Sequestration” in UM’s University Center April 13-14. The symposium looks at how land-use decisions affect carbon sequestration “and the linkages between carbon forestry initiatives and environmental and social co-benefits.” An impressive lineup of speakers is scheduled at this free and open event. Log on to for more information.

New Rocky Mountaineer Gerald Olbu invites you to join him April 9 as he heads up, up, up the trail to Eagle Pass and perhaps off trail to the summit of Mount Calowahcan, a Class IV ice/snow/rock bid with stellar views deep into the Mission Mountains. Call Olbu at 549-4769 for more information.

The Glacier Institute is hosting “Owls of the Mission Valley” April 9-10. For $260 you’ll base out of the Ninepipes Lodge and join owl expert Denver Holt on day and night field trips. Contact the Institute at www.glacierinstitute or 755-1211 for more info.

The Rocky Mountaineers are heading up Woody Mountain on April 10, taking a closed road and a game trail above Marshall Creek through mostly logged country. Count on a fairly steep four-mile haul, and call Steve Schombel at 721-4686 to learn more.

Join the Montana Natural History Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 9 for a presentation on Glacial Lake Missoula. In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few millennia, a massive lake once covered much of Western Montana before draining lickity split and spewing massive amounts of detritus across Eastern Washington. David Alt and John Twiggs will present; log on to for more information.

Montana River Guides is offering two five-day Raft Guide Schools, both designed for “novice raft guides and recreational floaters who want to learn the fundamentals of leading safe whitewater river trips.” The course consists of one day in the classroom followed by four on area rivers, with a focus on rescue training, equipment and rigging, as well as reading and guiding in Class III, IV and V water. Graduates receive a Whitewater Rescue Technician certification from Rescue 3 International. The first course begins April 15, the second May 14, and each costs $385. A condensed workshop ($125) runs April 23-24. Register by calling 273-4718.

Climbers should get the route beta to the Rocky Mountaineers’ next meeting, April 13 at 7 p.m. at Pipestone Mountaineering, to catch a lecture and slideshow by international climbing author Pat Caffrey. Author of the tragically out-of-print A Climber’s Guide to Montana, this fella is chockfull of beta on some of Montana’s more challenging mountaineering routes. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Cyclists are revving their bottom brackets in anticipation of April 10’s Rocky Mountain Roubaix, a takeoff on the French classic of the same name in—of all places—Frenchtown. Surface conditions on the 30-60 mile course vary, and racers are encouraged to be prepared with sturdy tires, a pump and other keep-it-running gear, although support wagons will be present. There’s a $17 entry fee; contact organizer Bob Presta at 544-0426 or for more.

Team Stampede is hosting the 17th Annual Grizzly Triathlon April 9, and this 1,000-yard swim, 20K cycle and 5K run is the biggest in the state. Register through April 7 at and don’t miss the mandatory racers meeting at 7:30 a.m. (Volunteers are still needed—help out and you’ll score a free Patagonia capilene shirt.)

Missoulians on Bicycles are heading out April 9 on the 30th Annual Cheeseburger Boogie to Stevensville, a 55-mile jaunt that should clean out the arteries before you return. Meet at the 4B’s parking lot on South Brooks Street, and don’t wait for the leader because none exists. The next day you can join Jim Kieronski (721-2112) for the eighth annual Beavertail Hill to Drummond Frontage Frolic, another 55-mile, all-pavement roller along some of the upper Clark Fork River’s more scenic terrain. Meet to carpool at the Eastgate parking lot.

The Garnet Preservation Association is looking for help staffing the ghost town’s historic giftshop/visitor center this summer. Transportation and stipend are available, call 329-3883 for additional information.

The Big Mountain is selling season passes at a major discount through May 15: Adult passes run $429, about half of what you’ll be paying when the snow falls next November. Log on to or call 862-2900.

And finally, a correction: A misreading of Snowbowl’s website caused this columnist to mistakenly report that they’re offering half-priced season passes this spring. They’re not. But send in half of a season pass’ full price of $449 by May 5 and you’ll get 10 percent off the total. Call 549-9777 for details.

It appears that the ski season is really wrapping up now, with Snowbowl, Discovery Basin, Big Mountain and Lost Trail all done for the season. Lookout Pass, Blacktail Mountain and Silver Mountain are all hopeful about the upcoming weekend, but schussers would be wise to call and confirm before heading up.

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